Ounce of Prevention

First-hand account of a house fire

The following post is from our guest blogger, and former intern, Daman Dhillon on her first-hand house fire experience: 

We woke up to the yelling of my uncle’s voice, “Fire! Fire! Get up!” I woke up and ran to the window alongside my aunt and saw flames. The next thing I knew I was outside staring back at my aunt’s beautiful home going up in flames.
On the evening of June 15th, we celebrated Father’s day at my aunt’s home in Brampton. We had planned on spending the night there, so we all got settled into bed around 11 pm. There were nine people in the house upstairs, and three in the basement. Around 2 am the fire broke out in the house next door. We ran across the street and I sat there praying that the flames would not touch our house. Unfortunately, the odds were not in our favor. The flames caught onto our roof and lit up the entire house. Pieces of the fiery roof were falling onto the cars below by the time the firefighters arrived. My entire family and I sat there crying unable to do anything to save our house, our memories, or belongings. We sat there and watched as it burned down to nothing but rubble.
As each part of the house perished we had hope that it’s okay the rest can still be salvaged, but we were wrong. I sat in the drive way right across from the house and looked up into the dark night sky, and there was flaming debris floating into the sky like stars. I couldn’t believe how something so ruthless could look so beautiful. Once again we just waited and watched. The fire was controlled by 6 am, but the firefighters continued to work on it until 3 pm the next day. They notified us that the house would have to be demolished, and it was. The house where the fire originated from destroyed a total of three homes, and caused smoke damage to three others.
My aunt and uncle loved their home so much, and were continuously upgrading it. It takes only a few minutes for a fire to destroy EVERYTHING, including cars, clothing, food, shoes, ID’s, house keys, even a toothbrush. However, it takes months or even years to rebuild a house and all your belongings. My aunt, uncle, and little cousin were left with nothing but the clothes on their backs. In addition to losing all their belongings, it has taken away their peace of mind, the memories they made in their home, sense of security, faith, and happiness.
 
My aunt, uncle, and cousin have been staying with us, and over the Canada day long weekend we had another scare. We were all sleeping and spread out in three rooms. We woke up and saw a bright light outside our bedroom window and loud bangs. We all jumped out of bed and ran outside, with the initial instinct that we were in danger and stuck in another fire. When we got outside, it was dark and the light we saw were just fireworks. That was first time I realized what damage it has caused us emotionally and mentally.

 

My aunt, uncle, and cousin will be moving into their rental house this weekend, marking the three-week anniversary of their loss. They have to start everything from scratch. They had to go to Service Ontario and get new health cards and licenses. Their car and ours were written off, and the rentals will be taken away this week. It will be a long process to rebuild the home and fill it with all the necessities. In addition, it will be long healing process for everyone involved, not only in the houses that were destroyed but the community as well. The community is shaken by the tragedy, and is fearful for their homes.
However we have gained a lot from this experience as well. Our entire family is so much closer due to this tragedy. We are thankful for the lives we lead and grateful for everyone in our lives. When we realized we couldn’t do anything to save the house, we were happy that none of us were hurt, because the outcome could have been far worst. We continue to have a positive outlook, and are humbled by everyone’s support.
 
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Injury Prevention Team